AUBURN, Ala.-Four members of the Boise State women's swimming and diving team were invited to the NCAA Championships, Wednesday. Seniors Amber Boucher and Stephanie North will return to the meet, while junior Stevie Hughey and freshman Sydney Johansen will make their first appearances. The championships will take place March 15-17, at James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Ala.
The Bronco quartet forms the first relay invited to the championships in school history. Boucher, Hughey, Johansen and North clocked a 1:29.73 in a time trial at the 2012 MW Championships to rank 14th nationally (15 were invited). Boise State becomes the first team in MW history to qualify a relay for nationals and the four participants will be the most by any MW school in the same season.
Boucher and North were invited in individual events, as well. Boucher is ranked in the top 17 in the 50-yard freestyle (17th), 100-yard freestyle (15th) and 100-yard butterfly (11th). North is ranked in the top 20 in the 50 freestyle (19th) and 100 freestyle (10th) and is also expected to swim the 200-yard freestyle. The top 30 or 31 in each individual event received invitations.
Hughey and Johansen will be able to compete in events they achieved NCAA 'B' cuts during the season. For Hughey those events are the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Johansen will have the chance to swim in the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard backstroke and 200-yard individual medley.
Boise State also has provisional qualifying times in all five relay events, allowing them to assemble relay squads out of the four participants. The Broncos' 400-yard freestyle relay enters the meet ranked No. 17, while the 400-yard medley relay team stands at No. 19. They can enter up to four relays.
The opportunity to swim relay events as well as improved rankings for Boucher and North have the Broncos aiming to build on a 39th-place finish at last year's meet.
Boucher finished 12th at the 2011 NCAA Championships in the 100-yard butterfly to score the first points (five) for Boise State at the NCAA Championships and receive honorable mention All-America recognition.
Last season was the first time Boise State was represented at the NCAA Championships.
Divers Amanda Burnett and Ciera Cortney still have an opportunity to qualify for nationals when they compete at the 2012 Zone E Diving Championships March 8-10, in Colorado Springs, Colo.